There isn't any question why Colleen Green has earned her place as Oakland's garage band darling. She may have grown up in Massachusetts listening to her parents' golden oldies, but she hasn't forgotten them.
Aside from all the fuzzy punk and seduction, she could have easily helped usher in the 1950s. Her melodies roll out in whispers that beg you to listen and remember. And all across her newest album, it's all too easy to forget that Green isn't really singing about love or other teenage daydreams, not even when she does.
He song, Nice Boy (I Want A), is about how much she wants a monogamous relationship without all the drama after all. Who can blame her? Love seems a little better than out of reach when you're self-medicated.
Milo Goes To Compton plays smoke-filled haziness.
Going to Oakland changed everything for the East Coast girl who was always obsessed with music. Some people say if you are exposed to enough of it, it will eventually change you. And with the Full House she and friends started up in West Oakland, it rubbed off on her until she had her own pile of well-composed but unproduced songs littering her living space along with her handmade comics.
It was only natural that the comics and the music seemed to go hand and hand. So sometimes she releases her comics and one-page stoner strips, Real Shit Daily, with a tape or CD. Maybe that is why she never takes anything too seriously, with straight-faced interview answers that suggest people worship her, start tribute bands, and generally envy her success as a slacker.
Except, she doesn't slack so much. She spent two months in Los Angeles working on her 8-track album with Art Fag Recordings and Hardly Art. It's a well-invested half-hour of dazed escapism, covering her favorite topics — heartache, separation, and true love (sort of) — songs like the Ramones-inspired I Wanna Be Degraded.
I Wanna Be Degraded or Nice Boy (I Want A) aren't the only songs to dial up. The constant contrast between the anxious guitar and sticky sweetness of her vocals are set up on the first track while she covers a slowed down Good Good Things by the Descendents.
The brilliance of her rendition, which swaps "man" for "girl," is that it leaves listeners to head-scratch over whether she's surreally sentimental or stickily satirical. Goldmine comes across the same way. She writes straightforward, but it doesn't all that feel straightforward when you're taking in her detachment.
Did you ever hold a telescope the wrong way? Everything seems so desperately far away, small, and confined. And much of Milo Goes To Compton feels like that, with the instruments set at the big end and Green down the hole on the other end of the world, wounded.
As much as it was out there, her debut seemed so much closer. Check out this cool video made by Wendy Wright, set to one of Green's earlier songs, Green One.
When Green performs live, it's just her, an electric guitar, and typical understated drum machine. Some people wonder how long that can hold people's attention.
But she's evolving. Sometimes she takes the stage with a bass player (her friend Marissa). Sometimes she jumps in with other bands like the Dum Dum Girls. Sometimes you just have to enjoy the simplicity of it, especially because she still accepts the occasional living room set when she isn't booked.
Milo Goes To Compton By Colleen Green Fuzzes Up 7.8 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
New artists who do their own thing, even when the influences are felt, are always a good thing. Green is also great at making any covers her own without making anyone ashamed. She's covered Blink 182, The Mission 120, Nobunny, Pixies, and The Rentals to name a few. But its her originals that you'll want to kick around for a long time.